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Lough... leadoff... why?


Barnaby Graves

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Orioles hitting coach Jim Presley said Saturday that David Lough could be used as the team's leadoff hitter when he's in the lineup.

When asked about the possibility, Presley noted, "He runs well enough and he bunts and he can do a lot of things so I do like him there." The 28-year-old outfielder has a bit of power and a bit of speed, but won't be relevant in mixed leagues unless he seizes an everyday job in the Orioles outfield which isn't likely to occur. Feb 1 - 2:37 PM

Let's start with some compliments, I think this was a very savvy pickup by DD and Lough seems like he can do several things very well. Let's also say Presley doesn't write the lineup card, BUT...

If Showalter can put JJ "What's a walk" Hardy in the 2nd position, he could just as easily fall in love with Lough's prototypical slappy speedster offensive profile and put him first, and ignore the .308 OBP. And I honestly think he will because, while I'm sure he cares about OBP, he likes guys in their roles and he's old school enough to take a quick look and think, this guy is a leadoff hitter. 10 walks in 335 PA last year. Brian Roberts found 26 walks in 296 AB to go with an ISO slightly better than Lough's.

But I honestly think Showalter does this.

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Let's start with some compliments, I think this was a very savvy pickup by DD and Lough seems like he can do several things very well. Let's also say Presley doesn't write the lineup card, BUT...

If Showalter can put JJ "What's a walk" Hardy in the 2nd position, he could just as easily fall in love with Lough's prototypical slappy speedster offensive profile and put him first, and ignore the .308 OBP. And I honestly think he will because, while I'm sure he cares about OBP, he likes guys in their roles and he's old school enough to take a quick look and think, this guy is a leadoff hitter. 10 walks in 335 PA last year. Brian Roberts found 26 walks in 296 AB to go with an ISO slightly better than Lough's.

But I honestly think Showalter does this.

I think the only thing stopping it is if decides to put Markakis there instead.

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Well, .308 in his first opportunity at extended playing time. He has a career .349 OBP in the minors, so I could see Buck letting him show what he could do atop the order for a couple of months. For what it's worth, BRob had a .284 OBP in his first season and .308 in his second. He got much better after that. Lough is much older when BRob was when he broke in, so there may not be as much potential growth in his game, but I wouldn't necessarily assume he can't do significantly better than .308.

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Well, .308 in his first opportunity at extended playing time. He has a career .349 OBP in the minors, so I could see Buck letting him show what he could do atop the order for a couple of months. For what it's worth, BRob had a .284 OBP in his first season and .308 in his second. He got much better after that. Lough is much older when BRob was when he broke in, so there may not be as much potential growth in his game, but I wouldn't necessarily assume he can't do significantly better than .308.

And I don't see a reason to test him at leadoff before he learns how to take a walk. What's even the point? He's not the type of guy to get pitched around either way... I think he'll be challenged in the zone. And maybe that's a reason in and of itself to be swinging, but if that's the conclusion, why is he a better leadoff hitter than Markakis or even Davis?

There's my crazy idea: Davis, who walks and slugs, leads off all year and gets the most PA of any Oriole (better yet because he is the best hitter of any Oriole), and behind him is Adam Jones, who is the second best slugger. We could be taking 2-0 leads in at least a handful of first innings through the year.

Of course if he DID start walking, or clawed to a .350 OBP, then he really would make a great leadoff hitter. Would be awesome if he had that kind of upside.

I would be surprised if Buck didn't have Nick lead off. He has before, why would he switch to Lough? Just because he has some speed? I think we will see Lough batting #9 to begin with.

I think you might be right, but Nick is pretty slow now, and for the reasons I said above I think Showalter might do it. If he doesn't care enough about OBP to pull Hardy from #2, this guy could easily be leadoff and he'll put Markakis 2 or lower than 5.

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And I don't see a reason to test him at leadoff before he learns how to take a walk. What's even the point? He's not the type of guy to get pitched around either way... I think he'll be challenged in the zone. And maybe that's a reason in and of itself to be swinging, but if that's the conclusion, why is he a better leadoff hitter than Markakis or even Davis?

There's my crazy idea: Davis, who walks and slugs, leads off all year and gets the most PA of any Oriole (better yet because he is the best hitter of any Oriole), and behind him is Adam Jones, who is the second best slugger. We could be taking 2-0 leads in at least a handful of first innings through the year.

Of course if he DID start walking, or clawed to a .350 OBP, then he really would make a great leadoff hitter. Would be awesome if he had that kind of upside.

I think you might be right, but Nick is pretty slow now, and for the reasons I said above I think Showalter might do it. If he doesn't care enough about OBP to pull Hardy from #2, this guy could easily be leadoff and he'll put Markakis 2 or lower than 5.

I know the point of the OP was to posture your self as more in the know stat wise than Buck, but the reason he bat Hardy second wasn't because he doesn't get OBP, it was because he had no better options.
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<iframe width="640" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/qBsn2mNTeLg?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Man got some wheels.

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